Skip to content

Month of February once again problematic for Minnesota

Feb 21, 2013, 7:51 PM EDT

Minnesota v Ohio State Getty Images

The month of February has proven to be a troublesome one for Minnesota over the last three years, as they’ve struggled to the tune of a 4-17 record with one more game (vs. No. 1 Indiana on Tuesday) before the calendar flips to March.

With that dubious record, and more importantly their recent struggles, in mind there are two questions to be asked: what’s wrong with Tubby Smith’s team, and do the Golden Gophers have the tools needed to turn things around?

Offensive execution hasn’t been a strong suit for Minnesota and that was the case when they were playing well earlier this season. Minnesota was able to capitalize on their offensive rebounding prowess, ranking as one of the nation’s best in regards to rebounding their own missed shots.

In Minnesota’s 71-45 loss at No. 18 Ohio State on Wednesday the Gophers grabbed 13 offensive rebounds and scored 14 second chance points. But even with those opportunities Minnesota failed to reach the 60-point mark for the fifth consecutive game (and seventh time in their last nine).

Minnesota shot 29.2% from the field, and while the shooting remains a concern there was a bigger issue against Ohio State: turnovers.

The Gophers turned the ball over 24 times, and with Ohio State entering the game with its own issues on the offensive end the Buckeyes were more than willing to take advantage of the extra scoring chances. Ohio State scored 26 points off of those turnovers, and over the last two games Minnesota has racked up 41 turnovers.

With Rodney Williams still dealing with a shoulder injury and Andre Hollins struggling from the field, Minnesota’s margin for error is much smaller than it was earlier in the season. As the Gophers’ recent track record suggests poor February performances have become commonplace, and fans are growing louder in voicing their displeasure.

They are tired of promising nonconference seasons turning to ash. They are tired of counting quality wins and hoping for an NCAA tournament spot. They are tired of watching teams that seem to regress as the season goes on, or at least that hit seemingly irreversible tailspins. And they seem to be tired of the head coach who has presided over all of these similar seasons.

Given Minnesota’s overall resume the Gophers look to be on solid ground when it comes to making the NCAA tournament, especially when considering some of the other bubble teams up for discussion.

But this current run of play has opened the door for fans to ask serious questions in regards to Smith’s program, and it’s certainly debatable as to whether or not Minnesota has the “right” answers.

Getting to the NCAA tournament is an achievement for many programs, but to go from looking like a Big Ten contender in early January to limping into the field wouldn’t be viewed as an “achievement” for Minnesota.

It would be a disappointment, regardless of how strong the Big Ten is.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Latest Posts
  1. San Diego hires New Mexico assistant Lamont Smith as new head coach

    Mar 31, 2015, 11:00 PM EDT

    Lamont Smith, right, is San Diego's new head coach (Getty Images) Getty Images

    San Diego turned to a former player to lead the basketball program.

  2. Washington State losing three players to transfer

    Mar 31, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    Jackie Davis, Brett Boese, Lucas O'Brien AP

    Head coach Ernie Kent is losing three first-year players after his first season at the helm.

  3. Report: Murray State guard Cameron Payne heavily considering NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 7:50 PM EDT

    Cameron Payne, Reece Chamberlain AP

    Could Murray State guard Cameron Payne enter the NBA Draft?

  4. UNLV’s Rashad Vaughn signs an agent and enters NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 6:40 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    UNLV officially loses Rashad Vaughn to the NBA Draft.

  5. Rhode Island lands impact transfer from Towson

    Mar 31, 2015, 5:35 PM EDT

    BB&T Classic Getty Images

    Rhode Island landed an impact transfer on Tuesday.

  6. Georgetown’s D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera heading to NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 4:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP

    Georgetown takes a major hit with the loss of D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera.

  7. Southern Illinois loses five to transfer, coach rips the decisions

    Mar 31, 2015, 3:22 PM EDT

    AP AP

    Barry Hinson is not happy about losing the players he brought into the program.

  8. Highlights of the McDonald’s All-American dunk contest (VIDEO)

    Mar 31, 2015, 2:44 PM EDT

    Dwayne Bacon, Jalen Rose Dwayne Bacon, Jalen Rose

    It wasn’t as good as the last two years, but there were still some impressive dunks.

  9. Kentucky, Wisconsin join short list of Final Four rematches

    Mar 31, 2015, 1:55 PM EDT

    So we meet again... (AP Photo) AP

    Teams that won the first meeting have won three of the four Final Four/title game rematches, with Duke (1990-91) being the lone exception.

  10. LSU’s Jordan Mickey to enter the NBA Draft

    Mar 31, 2015, 1:30 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Mickey is the second player from LSU to declare this month.

  11. Indiana’s 1976 undefeated team is rooting for Kentucky to go 40-0

    Mar 31, 2015, 12:09 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Bobby Knight would probably not approve of that.

  12. Cleveland State to lose Trey Lewis to transfer

    Mar 31, 2015, 10:01 AM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Lewis will have some well known suitors this offseason.

  13. Rick Barnes will be the next head coach at Tennessee

    Mar 31, 2015, 9:57 AM EDT

    Getty Images Getty Images

    Barnes spent the last 17 seasons at Texas.

  14. UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland, all No. 1 seeds, advance to women’s Final Four

    Mar 30, 2015, 11:10 PM EDT

    Brianna Turner AP

    UConn, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Maryland make up the 2015 women’s Final Four.

  15. Sources: Johnathan Williams III expected to transfer from Missouri

    Mar 30, 2015, 10:24 PM EDT

    AP Photo AP Photo

    Williams was the leading scorer and rebounder for the Tigers this season.

  16. Nebraska forward giving up basketball for senior season

    Mar 30, 2015, 10:00 PM EDT

    (Getty Images) Getty Images

    Nebraska forward Walter Pitchford is giving up basketball for his senior season.